I’m not a big drinker, (despite the numerous cocktail recipes on this blog). When it comes to cocktails, I’m often just as enamored by the garnish as I am the drink. Martini? I’ll take 6 olives. A Gibson? Gimme all the little onions. An Old Fashioned? Just leave me the jar of Maraschino cherries. Yes, you read that right. I love those artificially red, sugar soaked fake flavoured cherries in the glowing red syrup. I know they are probably pure poison but they are so cheery and classic and they make that last sip of a cold drink so perfect. What could be better? Honestly, these Bourbon Cocktail Cherries out do the store bought kind every time. They aren’t glowingly red, their syrup isn’t painfully sweet, and their flavour is much more complex. Drowned in Bourbon and aromatics, they are packed with a punch that will stand up to the deepest of brown liquors, as well as a fruitiness that is most welcome.
Bourbon Cocktail Cherries
1 lb fresh or frozen Byng cherries
1 Cup brown sugar
1 Cup of your favourite Bourbon
¼ Cup orange juice
two large slices of orange zest
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
Prepare the cherries by washing and pitting them. Pack them loosely into 2 clean pint jars. These cherries will be kept in the refrigerator so a full canning process isn’t required. Simply make sure that your jars are very clean.
In a heavy bottomed pot, dissolve the sugar into the bourbon. Add the orange zest and bring to simmer. Turn off the heat. Stir in the orange juice and vanilla. Tuck the orange zest strips into the jars with the cherries and pour over the syrup.
Secure the lids and store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months. Enjoy in your fave cocktails, on ice cream or drained and chopped in cakes or muffins.